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After three decades of collecting, Mary Hickey, 93, of Ashbourne, Ireland, owns more than 420 dolls. (CATHAL MCNAUGHTON/REUTERS)
After three decades of collecting, Mary Hickey, 93, of Ashbourne, Ireland, owns more than 420 dolls. (CATHAL MCNAUGHTON/REUTERS)

Talking points: The ants and the bees, hangover cure and airport health hazard Add to ...

ALL IN THE INSECT FAMILY

Today’s nature factoid: Ants and bees have more in common with each other than with wasps. Sciencedaily.com reports on a University of California study that produced the surprising conclusion that ants and bees are more genetically related to each other than wasps, including yellow jackets and paper wasps. Until now, scientists believed ants and bees were at best distant cousins, with ants being closer in genus to certain parasitoid wasps. “It has been uncertain how ants – the world’s most successful social insects – are related to bees and wasps,” said UC entomology professor Phil Ward. “We were able to resolve this question by employing next-generation sequencing technology and advances in bioinformatics.”

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POP POP, FIZZ FIZZ

Forget hair of the dog to take the edge off a hangover. What drinkers really need the morning after is a sugary-sweet soft drink. The Daily Mail reports on a study at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, that tested a wide range of beverages as hangover remedies. When people consume alcohol, their livers release an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) that converts the ethanol in alcohol into acetaldehyde, the chemical culprit behind such symptoms as nausea, headache and a general lousy feeling. After testing dozens of beverages, the researchers found that drinking a non-diet fizzy soda – Sprite in particular – was the most effective method to speed up the breakdown of acetaldehyde in the body. Interestingly, they also discovered that drinking herbal tea increases hangover symptoms.

FEAR OF FLYING REDUX

Living near an airport could be more hazardous to your health than you realize. As reported by CBS News, two recent studies have made the connection between loud noise at airports and serious health issues. The first study focused on the 3.6 million people residing near London’s Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest. It found higher risks of stroke, heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The second, conducted in Boston, found that, on average, those zip codes subjected to 10-decibel or higher airport noise had a 3.5 per cent higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate. “Whenever you have noise, it increases the stress in your body,” said medical professor David Agus of the University of Southern California.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928-1967), revolutionary

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